Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

EMBook Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I needed something amazing, something that would blow me away. Given how I felt about The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, I was worried that I wouldn’t love this book. Especially seeing as it looked like something I was going to love.

Thankfully, I did love it.

Sadie was very much like me. She was sarcastic, fearless and fascinating. I loved her as a character because she reminded me so much of myself. I live life fearlessly, and so often, the girls I read about don’t live life fearlessly so I don’t always connect to them the way I want to. Sadie knows she’s sick, but she’s bound and determined not to let her illness hold her back. That kind of fearlessness and willingness to fight the drug resistant strain of TB that the entirety of Latham House has.

Lane, on the other hand was very much like me in the overachiever department. He reminded me a lot of myself when I was in high school. He was so focused on his life plan that in some ways, he really didn’t start living life until he was at Latham House. He had been so focused on school, getting into Stanford, that he never really took time out for fun. He probably couldn’t even give an example of it if someone asked him to.

Lane and Sadie were adorable together. I loved them together, and my favorite moment between them is when they kiss for the first time. I adored that part and I found myself grinning like a crazy person.

Books that are very character centered are usually some of my favorite books. This book was very character centered, and the characters were all fleshed out well. Even the secondary characters like Charlie, Marina and Nick were well developed. I love when that happens.

This book destroyed my feels in the best possible way. I love books that make me feel, and boy this one did just that. It brought the feels in a big way. I absolutely loved this book and am giving it 5 stars.

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Book Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publish Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Life. Death. And…Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
Grief manifests itself in so many ways, and sometimes it’s hard to feel pity for someone who uses their grief as an excuse to treat people like crap. There is no reason to treat people like crap. 

That was my biggest issue with Emma. She’s grieving the loss of her mother to the point where she treats her stepfather like crap.He’s clearly hurting as well but Emma doesn’t see it. All she sees is the decision to keep her mom on life support until it’s safe for her baby brother to be born. She doesn’t even consider the probability that her stepfather and her mother had already had that “what if” conversation.

I get it. I get feeling like no one else knows her mother like she does. I feel the same way about my own mother. But  what I don’t understand is why she is so angry at Dan. He didn’t kill her mother. Yet Emma blames him completely for it.

Emma was horribly selfish all the way through the book and it frustrated me to no end.I felt worse for Dan actually. He was trying to talk to her. He was hurting and he was scared for the baby.Yet Emma turned a deaf ear to him. He was the only family she had nearby and he still loved her and needed her in his life. Emma was so angry that she didn’t see it.

The thing with Caleb was weird too. I didn’t buy that they could be in love by the end of the book. That was a relationship formed out of convenience. Caleb and Emma understood each other, but a couple has to have more than just a shared experience of watching someone they love die.While a truamautic experience can and often does change people, this was just too much. She didn’t even know Caleb before her mother died and suddenly just because she dies, Emma notices him? Yeah, call me skeptical, but that’s not how it works.

The only portion I liked was the bit with Dan about 3/4’s of the way through it. Emma finally got all her feelings out and Dan was allowed to get his out too. However, I don’t think the instant forgiveness thing worked here.Given how angry Emma was throughout the book, it’s just not plausible that she’s suddenly not angry with Dan for his decision. 

The premise was good and I was super excited for it. However the execution of it fell flat. The only character I actually liked was Dan, the rest of them were boring and obnoxious.Editing-wise the book was great.This book will be getting 2 stars. I didn’t enjoy this one all that much.

Review: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Marie Landry

Book Title: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Author: Marie Landry
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Marie Landry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? At least that’s what twenty-year-old Ginny Bailey’s grandmother always told her, and Ginny believed it until Grama died. She even put on a brave face the following two Christmases, carrying on Grama’s traditions and decorating her house and café with Grama’s favorite decorations.

But Ginny can’t pretend any longer. When she finds out she’s going to be alone for the holidays this year, her Christmas spirit goes out the window, along with her luck. Everything that can go wrong does, and Ginny just wants to spend the holidays hiding under the covers…until Dean Riley comes back into her life. With their shared past, old feelings begin to resurface almost immediately, and Ginny thinks Dean might just be the Christmas miracle she’s been waiting for to help her remember why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year so I was so excited to get a Christmas themed e-ARC from one of my favorite authors. I had read her last book Waiting for the Storm several months ago and had loved it so I had high hopes for this one. 

Boy I was not disappointed. Not in the slightest. It was an adorable book that made me swoon and giggle and yes, even cry.Ginny is desperately missing her Grama as Christmas was her Grama’s favorite time of the year. It really doesn’t help that Ginny has a rather distant relationship with her parents and her best friend will be spending the holidays with her boyfriend. So now Ginny is forced to spend Christmas all alone. Her first Christmas alone since Grama died.

All of that changes when swoony Dean walks back into Ginny’s life. Without meaning to, Dean once again weaves his way back into Ginny’s life. It’s seamless and he is sexy. Neither of them expected a holiday romance, but that was exactly what they got. Dean “gets” Ginny in a way that no other guy ever has. And when that happens, it’s too good to let go of.

Perfect, perfect, perfect. The feels were there despite the fact that this book was technically classified as a novella.Sometimes it’s hard to capture the appropriate range of emotions in a novella but Marie totally did it and I am SO excited for her next project.I was already looking forward to Christmas but this definitely ramps up the Christmas excitement. An easy 5 stars to this book.